Silver Siouxon: Fall Bikepacking in Portland’s Shoulder Season
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
One of the most frequent questions I hear is: “What can I bikepack on a long weekend that’s close to town?” The Silver Siouxon route is the answer to that question. You get incredible backcountry singletrack and a remoteness that seems much, much farther than an hour’s drive from Portland.
We rode it in October with vibrant fall colors, but late spring and early summer sport an equally beautiful wildflower bloom. The variety of terrain you pass through is unique. Countless waterfalls, working timber forests, the faux-alpine terrain of Silver Star (a byproduct of the Yacolt Burn), the giant scree fields of Bluff Mountain, the imposing Cougar Rock, and the verdant green tunnel of Siouxon Creek’s old growth forest make this a route that’s challenging physically and technically, but inspiring and soul regenerative at the same time. (more…)
Metro Bike Mountains of Madness
Words by Carter Chappell
If you have been to LA recently maybe you have noticed the new Metro Bikes that launched last late year. They are essentially three-speed commuters by Trek that are built around a bombproof steel frame and held together by an army of tamper-proof bits. You cannot in any way take the tires off if you get a flat or do much outside of raising and lowering the seat to change the bikes fit in any way. It’s pretty much that last thing you would want to do any sort of long or hilly ride on. (more…)
The Cannell Trail… Don’t Call it a Shuttle Run!
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
Years ago Ryan Wilson told me of this mythical mountain bike ride in the Sequoia National Forest that dropped from the sky to the desert floor. He said it was thirty-something miles long and had around 8,000 feet of ripping descent. To be honest, I didn’t really believe him, so I retained little to no information that night.
Fast forward a few years, Mike Kalenda had just come onboard at Golden Saddle Cyclery, and one morning he was telling me about this crazy ride out of Kernville where you get shuttled up to 9,200 feet and you spend all day riding your bike down the mountain to a brewery! It all sounded familiar, but nothing was sticking, and then I heard about a Plunge and that got me thinking. Hell…I’m not even sure if Ryan even said the word plunge that night, long ago, but something about that word reminded me. I immediately started researching all I could on the internet about this trail, and came to the conclusion that this must’ve been what Ryan was talking about! Maybe the word plunge just sounded cool and I gravitated towards it, but either way, the word plunge got me there and after riding the last part of this trail called “The Plunge”, I’ll definitely be going back. (more…)
Yes, those astute readers of this website will recognize this bike. Kyle photographed it at Grinduro Scotland already, along with the bikes of other builders. It was the only mountain bike in the bunch and it coincidentally won the People’s Choice award at Grinduro Scotland, which is why it’s here in California right now. Adeline makes Mercredi Bikes in the UK. Her torch time is usually spent on road and ‘cross bikes, but this mountain bike was her first, in terms of building and the first MTB she’s owned. A serious cyclocross racer, it didn’t take much for Adeline to adjust to racing this mountain bike at Grinduro, where she won. I’ve always been of the opinion that riding mountain bikes will enhance your ‘cross skills and she’s quickly finding that to be true. (more…)
Smoked and Stoked: Riding High in Central Oregon
Words and photos by Colin Frazer
Growing up outside of Eugene, I’d spent Summers camping and swimming in the rivers, lakes and hot springs that define the west side of Oregon’s Cascade range. Mountain biking was still a fledgling sport at the time and I was only vaguely aware of the burgeoning meccas sprouting up around me. Since I really only started riding after high school, I’ve been wanting to get back home to do some bikepacking for a while, but the right conditions just hadn’t come around. With all the rad work that Gabe and crew have put in making the Oregon Timber Trail a reality, the interest was brewing and a small crew started to form. Adam and Sam, childhood friends from Colorado, would come over with me from Bozeman, Corey and David, childhood friends from Ohio, would come from Seattle and LA respectively, for a week or more of shredding central Oregon. (more…)
330 Miles of the Gorge Backcountry
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
The Gorge Backcountry route is a 330-mile loop leaving Portland which encompasses lesser known vistas and lightly trafficked asphalt and dirt ribbons through lush forests, river canyons, and rocky escarpments both north and south of the mighty Columbia River. (more…)
A 15-Day Whirlwind Tour of Bucket List Trails in Colorado (and one in Utah!)
Photos and words by Jeff Frane
Greetings party people,
It’s me, Jeffrey G. Frane and I’d like to share some stories and photos from a recent 15-day whirlwind tour of bucket list trails in the Colorado mountains. (and one in Utah!) For two weeks we moved non-stop taking in 3,300 miles of van life, the finest rest stops and porta-johns the West has to offer, mountain peaks, mechanical mishaps, world-class campsites, bug bites, crashes, new friends, and countless ribbons of singletrack. The itinerary was exhausting and ridiculous, but as traveling always tends to be, it was also the best.
It all started last Spring (2016) when my partner Chelsea won the fatbike category at the Lutsen 99’er deep in the Northwoods and North Shore of Minnesota, which qualified her for the famed Leadville 100 Trail Race. For those uninitiated, the Leadville 100 is an absolutely ludicrous endeavor that’s been going on since 1983 and takes in 12,000 feet of climbing in 100 miles at elevations between 10,000 and 12,000 feet. Owing to the seriousness and financial cost of the undertaking, she decided to take a full year to prepare her body and mind.
For those of us from the low-lands just sleeping is challenging at that altitude, nevermind throwing down what would be a monster day on a bicycle at any elevation. To add to the challenge, she had never before been to the high mountains or spent any time at elevation, and thus had no idea how her body would react. Because of the race altitude, we wanted to spend as much time in the mountains as possible prior to the event, and since she had never been to Colorado before, we agreed that rather than choosing one destination, we’d simply do everything!
On a Sunday we loaded up the van, left our home in Minneapolis and cannonballed toward the Front Range, spending a night in Denver before hitting up the legendary Monarch Crest in Salida, 401 Trail in Crested Butte, the race in Leadville, 18 Road and Horsethief in Fruita, and finally the whole Enchilada in Moab, Utah. This was our first extended road trip as a couple and after a hard Summer of being separated, traveling for work and bike racing, it was very special to reconnect and share her first time in the mountains.
Here’s to the great tradition of Summer Road trips!
Follow Jeff on Instagram.
Out of the Bolivian Yungas and into the Cordillera
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
After plunging into the depths of the Bolivian Yungas, your brain likes to trick you into overlooking the relatively low altitude ups and downs of this area, while focusing in on the inevitable slog back to the thin air of the high mountains. But these Yungas roads have a way of telling you right away that just because you’re not at 16,000ft anymore doesn’t mean you’re getting away unscathed here. What the Yungas lacks in pure altitude, it easily makes up for in relentlessly steep, hot, and dusty roads that zig and zag across the rippled terrain. Make no mistake, the challenge here definitely stacks up with just about anything else in the area. (more…)
Los Angeles is no stranger when it comes to wildfires, even in the short time I’ve lived here and while most of the fires over the years have been in the San Gabriel mountains, I never expected to have a fire ravage my favorite place to ride, the Verdugo Mountains. You’ve probably heard of these mountains before, we post a lot of photos here on the site from their peaks, fireroads and singletrack. To give you some perspective, the dirt roads are 7 miles from my front door, with the first saddle being exactly 10 miles. The peak, at least on the road, tops out at 3,100′ and it’s a long, steep way up, with climbs averaging between 10 and 18%. (more…)
Trail Working for the Trans-Cascadia and Oregon Timber Trail
Photos and words by Dylan VanWeelden
In Oregon, it is not uncommon to see two rolling waves moving with equal speed and swell in opposite directions. The Pacific is chaotic and tumultuous and the rocky beaches and moody weather facilitate this diversive behavior. But occasionally these waves move toward each other, combining and colliding with a massive, wild spike of energy — more beautiful and twice as tall as anything else on the horizon.
This is exactly the type of energy that came together last weekend in the mountain bike community. http://trans-cascadia.com/Trans-Cascadia (the 4-day blind format enduro race) and the newly founded Oregon Timber Trail (bikepacking trail going across Oregon) joined forces to create one hell of a trail building party. Over fifty cyclists, from top enduro racers to core bikepackers, shared rakes, saws, loppers, and endless Basecamp beers around the fire. (more…)